Europe is set to quash a precedent-setting initiative designed to tackle a disturbing side effect of common drugs — their impact on aquatic life. Nature has learned that landmark regulations intended to clean Europe’s waterways of pharmaceuticals are likely to be dead on arrival when they reach a key vote in the European Parliament.

Palm oil was once touted as a social and environmental panacea — a sustainable food crop, a biofuel that could help to cut greenhouse-gas emissions and a route out of poverty for small-scale farmers. In recent years, however, a growing body of research has questioned those credentials, presenting evidence that palm-oil farming can cause damaging deforestation and reduce biodiversity, and that the oil’s use as a biofuel offers only marginal benefits for mitigating climate change.

The world has failed to deliver on many of the promises it made 20 years ago at the Earth summit in Brazil.

For villagers in Mwandama, Malawi, visiting a health worker used to mean a daunting 40-kilometre round trip on foot. So the medical centre that was built in the area as part of the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) last year has improved their quality of life — and their health. Research published this week suggests that the MVP has significantly reduced infant mortality at sites across Africa.

A UN analysis sets out global water-management concerns ahead of Earth Summit.

Alarmed at signs that the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals is blunting these key weapons against human disease, governments are taking action.

Can Western guidelines govern Eastern herbal traditions?

Leading scientists say that agriculture is a ‘poor relation’ in global-warming negotiations.

Discharges from pharmaceutical factories contaminate rivers on three continents.

European companies are not providing robust information to regulators or alternatives to animal experiments.